Orange County perfectly illustrates how addiction affects rich and poor people alike. Despite being one of the nation’s wealthiest areas, this California county has been struggling with horrible drug problems. Pharmaceutical abuse is rampant, and medical marijuana is often diverted to the illicit market. To better understand the nationwide addiction epidemic, more Americans should learn from this example – and how drug treatment in Florida can help.
Prescription Drug Availability
Most people think of illegal substances when they think of addiction – but prescription drugs can be just as habit-forming. In fact, the legality of pharmaceuticals can actually make them more dangerous. Users may assume that legal medications can’t cause long-term problems, and they’ll quickly form addictions through massive abuse.
Unfortunately, Orange County has one of the highest rates of prescription drug abuse in the United States. Oxycontin, Vicodin, and other powerful opiates are frequently prescribed as painkillers to hospital patients. People across the country struggle to afford such drugs, but Orange County residents are often wealthy enough to buy them en masse. Whereas some painkiller addicts eventually turn to heroin to fuel their opiate habits – richer addicts can long maintain large supplies of pharmaceutical-grade drugs.
California and Medical Marijuana
California has also legalized marijuana for medical use, and dispensaries can be found across the state. While cannabis can certainly help people with degenerative diseases, it’s also easily abused. Residents must get special prescriptions, or “cards,” to buy medical marijuana – but these are alarmingly easy to obtain. Most doctors will prescribe them without physical examinations or medical records. There are even billboards advertising clinics where people can cheaply and easily buy these cards.
While marijuana isn’t as dangerous as “harder” narcotics like heroin and cocaine, it can still be extremely addictive. Some of the harms it can cause include:
- Depression and anxiety
- Memory loss
- Cognitive Impairment
- Loss of motor skills
- Lowered reaction time
- Sexual dysfunction
- Throat and lung disease
- Psychological attachment
- Long-term withdrawal symptoms
Problems among Teens
Orange County’s prescription drug problems affect teenagers at disproportionately high rates. Recent reports suggest that roughly ten percent of high school students regularly abuse Vicodin – and that’s just one of the many drugs available. Several kids die every year from overdoses, and thousands more suffer the long-term consequences of opiate abuse.
The availability of medical marijuana has also become a problem in the county’s high schools. Most dispensaries won’t sell to anyone under eighteen years of age, but it’s all too easy for older buyers to re-sell pot for profit. There are also several marijuana shops engaged in legal battles over alleged sales to minors.
Effective Drug Rehab
Thankfully, there is still hope for addicts in Orange County. Drug rehab is more advanced today than ever before, and clinical treatment has helped thousands of people to get clean. Doctors now understand that addiction is a true disease – not a matter of willpower – and they’ve developed incredibly effective therapies for treating it.
If you’re struggling with prescription drugs, marijuana, or any other substances, call the number at the top of your screen. Our dedicated counselors are here day and night, and they can answer all of your questions about drug treatment in Florida. Take the first steps on the road to recovery today.